Retroactive update to Federal pandemic unemployment program may make more people eligible to receive assistance

<< All News Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 12:00pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a retroactive update to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program to add additional reasons for eligibility to receive PUA assistance. As a result of this change, Job Service North Dakota is providing claimants an opportunity to self-certify under the updated list of 15 COVID-19 reasons to determine if they are now eligible for the PUA program. Claimants who are determined eligible for the program will have an opportunity to complete weekly certifications for the weeks they were unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable for work.

This update only applies to PUA claims that are already on file. It does not provide an opportunity for individuals to file new claims. The PUA program was created through the CARES Act, and was active in North Dakota from Feb. 2, 2020, through June 19, 2021.

All denied eligibility determinations for PUA will be reviewed by Job Service North Dakota, and claimants will have another opportunity to self-certify which COVID-19-related reason(s) caused them to become unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable for work.

The three additional reasons are:

  • I was denied continued unemployment benefits because I refused to return to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite that, in either instance, is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to, those related to facial mask wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of personal protective equipment consistent with public health guidelines.
  • I provide services to an educational institution or educational service agency and am unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work schedule that is directly caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in schedules and partial closures.
  • I am an employee and my hours have been reduced or I was laid off as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

All impacted claimants are being notified through the mail or through electronic notification by Job Service North Dakota. Claimants will have 14 days to respond to the notification. Questions can be directed to Job Service North Dakota at 701-328-4995.

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